The president and chief executive officer of Thomson Reuters Corp. (NYSE:TRI) is getting some Twitter grief following an ill-conceived memo in which he simultaneously touted profits and announced layoffs.
James C. Smith sent a memo to staff on the company’s third-quarter financial results, which were reported on Tuesday. In the memo, posted in full by media commentator Jim Romenesko, Smith wrote how pleased he is that Thomson Reuters’ financial unit had achieved “positive net sales for the first time in more than two years.” He went on to write about “pressing the accelerator,” taking the company from “good to great” and going to the “next level of performance.” Two paragraphs down, he dropped the ax:
“We will eliminate approximately 3,000 positions as we continue to reduce product and operational complexity across our company. And we will focus our resources on supporting front-line teams on the ground in markets with the greatest potential for growth.”
As the memo spread across social media, some Twitter users seemed to think the simultaneous backpatting/layoff announcement was in poor form.
"How do we go from good to great?" Asks Jim Smith, CEO of Thomson Reuters. Fire 3000 people is the main answer. #great
â€” Louis V. Galdieri (@lvgaldieri) October 29, 2013
"I think everybody in the world is trying to do more with less...including those 3,000 people now, AMIRITE? ha ha ha" -Reuters CEO Jim Smith
â€” * devon maloney * (@dynamofire) October 29, 2013
"How do we unlock the incredible talent inside this company? [...] We will eliminate app. 3,000 positions." - Jim Smith, CEO Thomson Reuters
â€” Michael Waning (@MinorConcerns) October 29, 2013
Today's Worst Person in the World is Jim Smith, CEO, Thomson Reuters. Announces profits, cuts 3000 jobs: http://t.co/MsFetuQSBq
â€” Mededitor (@Mededitor) October 29, 2013
The 3,000 job cuts will affect roughly 5 percent of Thomson Reuters’ total workforce. They follow about 2,500 layoffs in February, when Smith announced job cuts at a fourth-quarter 2012 earnings conference. In both cases, the company’s Financial and Risk division is expected to endure the brunt of the cuts.
Thomson Reuters, a New York-based financial data and news company, has struggled amid competition from the privately held Bloomberg L.P., whose ubiquitous terminals are thought to be an indispensable tool for investors. Reporting its third-quarter 2013 results on Tuesday, the company said its before-currency revenue grew 2 percent for the period ending Sept. 30.
Thomson Reuters shares were up 1.87 percent Wednesday to $37.54 in midday trading.
Read Smith’s full memo here.